I own a small business, and I try to treat my staff very well. How can I keep them from taking things for granted or not appreciating them at all?
I’m like anyone else. If I spend a lot of money, or do something big, and it doesn’t have an impact or people aren’t grateful, it hurts my feelings. In those kinds of situations, as a business owner or just a regular guy, I’d rather keep my money and not get my feelings hurt. I don’t whine if things like that don’t work out as expected. But I do sometimes teach on the attribute of gratefulness in team meetings.
We’ve tried hard to make this company a great place to work. We do things that lots of other organizations don’t, so expecting a little appreciation isn’t out of line. We buy lunch for our entire team a few times each month, and we also have a great profit sharing plan, among other things. When something like this is coming up we make a big, fun deal out of it, so that it doesn’t become routine. If it ever gets to the point where these things are taken for granted, then we’ll stop doing them and put the money somewhere else.
To me, ungratefulness is one of the worst character traits. If you think this attitude is becoming a problem, just talk to your team straight up about the situation. There’s no need to call anyone out personally, but make your feelings very clear. It’s your job as a leader to give your people a great work environment. And if you’re a member of someone’s team, and you appreciate what your leaders do, you should act like it!
I’m not a business owner or in management where I work, but your EntreLeadership book was inspiring. Do you have any advice for how I can influence upper management at my company?
Here are a couple of ideas you could try. I’m never insulted when someone brings me a book they love on leadership. My team knows I’m always reading and learning, and I just look at instances like that as another opportunity to learn something new.